Writings and Musings

Bob Frankston (bio)

Welcome to my writings.

If you want the primary essays check out the sidebar on the left.

Other essays are listed in chronological order and then by category. The main essays are in larger letters and minor documents (such as messages posted on discussion sites) are indented and in smaller letters. The documents themselves are located on this site (www.Frankston.com) and on www.SATN.org which I share with David Reed and Dan Bricklin. Documents on external sites are mirrored in case those sites disappear. In most cases the copies are listed as alternates and may vary a little from the originals.

You can send me Email. Note this unique address is only valid for the next few days.

The best way to link to a document is as http://rmf.vc/keyword.

By default only the most recent posts are shown, to see:
Recent By Date Posts from the last few months
Columns Columns written in 1998-1999 -- blogging before blogs
All All posts -- hundreds

Writings and Updates by Date

Some of the recent entries are also listed on the sidebar. Secondary items such as postings on other mailing lists are indented. Note that the year shown is the year the essay was updated. An essay written in 1979 might be listed under 2009 if it was updated recently.

Year: 2015

Quora Question: What Is It Like to Have Been Programming for the Past Fifty Years? 3/21/2015
My response to the Quora question about what it's been like to have been programming for half a century. You can also see the answer on Quora.external site
Cancer genetic tests offered on websites often not all they promiseto be, Dana-Farber study finds - Metro - The Boston Globe 3/21/2015
While there is value in big data many of the expectations are driven by marketing rather than real science.IPList
DL- GOOGLE Makes Us GODS (via Iona Miller) like Icarus 3/20/2015
The idea that we can gain by connecting our brains to the Internet. But our brains have never been isolated. They have always been connected to the rest of society and the intelligence outside the brain and inherent in its architecture have always been our source of smarts.We need to be careful lest this hubris lead us think this time we have the one true answer.IPList
Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins 3/16/2015
Another example of hubris in assuming that we can automate warfare ... and the rest of society.IPList
Further Reading 2/18/2015 (Updated: 2/21/2015) PDF
Any one essay can only skim the surface. For further reading ...
Internet-Native Policies 2/17/2015 (Updated: 2/19/2015) PDF
Amid all the recent discussion about "Network Neutrality" a concern is that we may be losing the soul of the Internet – the ability to create our own solutions. Our "flow" metaphors fail us when dealing with the tolerant and bursty nature of the Internet. The Internet is not a utility, nor is it a consumable we can meter like electricity or water.

Now that the Internet has begun to "grow up" we need to move beyond policies appropriate for a nascent Internet seeking passage through a telecommunications network and start to adopt Internet Native Policies to facilitate connectivityCircleID
Connectivity Site 2/14/2015
I will be setting up a site for sharing approaches to sharing connectivity with our neighbors and communities at Connectivity.xyzexternal site
Verizon nears "the end" of FiOS builds | Ars Technica 1/27/2015
Verizon looks to wireless for profits but that may not last longIPList
What infrastructure is needed for positively disruptive technology 11/30/2014 (Updated: 1/20/2015) PDF
The talk I gave to ISOCNY November 11 2014 aimed at helping policymakers revisit their "givens".
Seizing the wrist and re-understanding the Internet 4/13/2012 (Updated: 1/2/2015) PDF
Wrist-based programmable devices (AKA watches) and other devices give us a reason to rethink the design point of the Internet.
The Wrist: Information near Your Fingertips 9/27/1993 (Updated: 1/2/2015) PDF
In 1993 I wrote about the importance of the wrist as real estate for information. After twenty years the ideas seem be becoming mainstream.

Year: 2014

Silicon Valley's Mirror Effect - The New Meritocracy 12/27/2014
The rise of the meritocracy risks policies based on the hindsight bias.IPList
Putting it all Together? 12/25/2014 PDF
The idea of an automated home is premised on the idea that we can just put together any number of programs and they would auto-magically compromise a coherent whole. After a half a century of programming I know we still have a lot to learn.
Trying to talk about the future using the vocabulary of the past 11/21/2014
It is very difficult to talk about connectivity policy when the very vocabulary implicitly assumes the 19th framing of telecommunications.IPList
Re: The Creepy New Wave of the Internet 11/17/2014
There is a tendency to project our world views on the Internet. To some it is a way to centralize power and control. But the origins of the Internet are just the opposite -- something that emerged from our ability to use computing to create our own solutions.IPList
Community Broadband Podcast 11/3/2014
“In this episode, we talk a lot about how to think about what he terms "connectivity" rather than telecommunications. Telecommunications are a train track - the network owner determines when to move the trains and at what capacity. Our goal for networks is more akin to the roads, where we have more capacity to move around and pick our own routes on our own schedule”external site
Beyond Neutrality - Enabling a World of Connected Things 10/24/2014 PDF
The Internet is about much more than accessing web sites. Today we have "Things" that are using the Internet to connect with each other and things need more than "access" -- they need unfettered (borderless) connectivity.external site
Refactoring Consumer Electronics 12/24/2012 (Updated: 10/19/2014) PDF
Article in the January 2013 issue of the IEEE Consumer Electronics magazine. The concepts behind the Internet -- the best efforts exchange of raw bits -- represents a basic shift from a framing of electrons and pipes to one in which we can focus on relationships and applications. (The IEEE version is available here)
Connected Things 10/16/2014 PDF
The power of the Internet comes from our ability to build connected applications. We use the term “Internet of Things” to extend this concept beyond computation to include the objects in the physical world.
There are far more fundamental changes coming to discoverability 9/28/2014
As the Internet evolves it will be difficult to track what is happening as a byproduct of decentralization.IPList
Re AT&T and Verizon defend data caps on home Internet service 9/23/2014
Again with the caps that don't apply to the carriers' own content.IPList
Science’s Sexual Assault Problem 9/21/2014
This story of scientists faced with harassment (and worse) makes me think of my mother's experience in trying to get her PhD in geology in the 1930's.dewayne
Verizon's mañana policy - I now have a zero gigabit connection 9/13/2014
Connectivity is not a luxury so we do we have public policies that leave us disconnected for days?IPList
Re Powers that be Buy Influence at Think Tanks 9/8/2014
We should worry when research is considered a product rather than an effort to broaden our understanding.IPList
Two Cities With Blazing Internet Speed Search for a Killer App 9/6/2014
Another reminder why speed is the wrong focus for connectivity policy.external site
The Building Blocks of IoT: Borderless Connectivity and Generic Computing Devices 2/22/2014 (Updated: 9/1/2014)
This is the talk I gave at the Internet of Things Festival in Cambridge February 22nd, 2014
QoS -- the Intelligent network redux 8/30/2014
The idea that you can make promises in the network (QoS) is a retreat from the Internet and innovation outside the network.IPList
Time Warner Cable Internet Outage Affects Millions 8/28/2014
If you repurpose an entertainment system expect it to be treated as a noncritical distribution systemIPList
Hands On with the HTC One M8 for Windows: The first OS-agnostic phone | Ars Technica 8/22/2014
Now that we have a phone that can run more than one operating system the user should be able to choose which to boot.IPList
re Humans Need Not Apply, and Robot Swarms 8/18/2014
Jobs are an increasingly anachronistic method of wealth (re)distribution.IPList
"Fast Lanes" Saved the Internet - not 8/4/2014
We need to be aware of proof by example. We connect despite teleom rather than because of it.IPList
Connectivity Policy 7/17/2014 (Updated: 7/31/2014) PDF
The internet is a different way of using the same facilities (wires, radios etc.) used for telecommunications. The big difference is that the Internet approach is not limited to provider-defined for-profit offerings. The differences go far deeper.

I use the term "borderless connectivity" for the new concept. The approach is being adopted from the edge -- driven by market forces. Telecommunications becomes just another resource as one way to extend connectivity as we shift from being dependent upon service providers to creating our own solutions.

Today's Internet gives a hint of what we can do with the new opportunities.
Connectivity problem 7/10/2014
We are still dealing with the legacy of circuits using protocols and approaches which presume a common pipe for all packets and purposes.IPList
re Is the End to End Principle of any use going forward? 7/10/2014
I'm amazed at Internet-denialism. The end-to-end is about innovation outside of a network and opportunity. The old telecom metrics don't apply.IPList
(Not) Getting the Message Across 6/30/2014 PDF
If we are to get the benefits of the Internet's connectivity we need transparent paths without intermediaries either to press "agree" or having protocols like Bluetooth which insist on "understanding" the messages before passing them on.
The Troubling Truth of Why It’s Still So Hard to Share Files Directly 6/30/2014
Today's Internet as too many twisting winding passages rather than simple connectivitydewayne
'Wi-Fi First' - What still needs to happen -- 6/29/2014
Questions about "Agree" screens and their ilk.IPList
'Wi-Fi First' - What still needs to happen -- 6/28/2014
As calling over Wi-Fi becomes more common we need to think about Wi-Fi as a primary transport rather than an offload for cellular. Instead cellular is simply a backup transport.IPList
Over-provisioning bandwidth doesn't solve QoE problems 6/23/2014
We need to wary about using backward looking Telco-based metrics when trying to understand the Internet's connectivity.IPList
RE: [IP] Over-provisioning bandwidth doesn't solve QoE problems 6/21/2014
Let's be careful about using old telecom measures when we try to understand the InternetIPList
Blast from the past? 5/19/2014
Same group of us arguing the same issues for 35 years. Sigh.IPList
Re Comcast plans data caps for all customers in 5 years, could be 500GB 5/14/2014
Broadband Competition is a filed approach. We need to have competition for providing common facilities rather than vying for favors from gatekeepersIPList
Bob Frankston
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